Many people in New York and around the country feel awkward about bringing up their parents’ estate plan to them. However, you may want to overcome the fear of having this uncomfortable conversation and encourage your parents to write a plan if they haven’t yet. There are several ways that you can bring up the topic without feeling uncomfortable.
Read articles on estate planning
An easy way to bring up your parents’ estate plan is to read articles and/or books on estate planning and talk about what you’re learning with them. This opens the discussion in a subtle way. If your parents haven’t started estate planning yet, then this may give them the push that they need to overcome their own discomfort with thinking of their deaths.
You may want to share the facts with them on what happens when someone doesn’t leave behind a clear estate plan. It may result in an intestate succession. They might not approve of the way the state would automatically distribute their estate. The laws can change, resulting in a different distribution than they initially thought as well. Conflict may occur between family members if they can’t agree on the property distribution.
Avoid asking for numbers
The exact numbers may change as your parents’ needs change. Perhaps, they had an emergency, which reduces how much property they have to divide. You should also avoid appearing like you care more about how much you’ll receive than your parents having an estate plan in place to protect their wishes.
Write your estate plan
If you’re working on your estate plan, now is the perfect time to start a discussion with your parents about theirs. You can let them know that you’re writing or reviewing your estate plan and ask them if they have written theirs.
Although you may want your parents to live long lives, death is inevitable. You might not want to delay bringing up the uncomfortable topic of estate planning to ensure that there’s a clear plan for the surviving family and the state to follow in honoring their last wishes.